December 17th, 2012

Family History

Ailz and her mother sit and talk about family history. Dot has been digging around. She even bought herself a subscription to one of those very popular genealogy sites.

Ailz is learning all sorts of things. About an uncle's adultery, for instance. Somewhere out there she may- in consequence-  have a cousin she's never met.  The family was once quite well-to-do. Ailz's great-grandfather took the name of a benefactor- which explains why members of the family show up in historic documents as sometimes "Smith", sometimes "Robinson" and sometimes hyphenated "Robinson-Smith". 

Ruth was going to buy us a subscription to one of those sites for Christmas. No need now.

My family is already accounted for. My sister pursued the paternal line to the point where it disappears (c.1900) into the swamps of the Thames estuary. This allows me to speculate that my great-grandfather was a foreign sailor on shore leave- which would explain why my grandfather- in spite of his West Country name- looked so un-English. As for the maternal line, that's proudly respectable and can be traced through generations of Baptist preachers and Quaker businessmen to the Earl of Stafford and through him the Plantagenets. I have the family tree (drawn up for me by great-aunt Enid) tucked away in a folder somewhere.